Say the name “Benidorm” and you’ll instantly conjure three mental images. One is of a busy strip, thronged with a constantly shifting mass of young holidaymakers and bathed in the neon incandescence of the bars and clubs on either side, shouting out their wares with cheery signs and thundering bass. Another is of a beach, covered once more with holidaymakers, but this time of varying ages, sunbathing, talking, laughing and filling the air with the sounds of summer. The third is of a community of British migrants, enjoying their retirement in the hot, dry weather and low living cost the region brings.
There is nothing wrong with any of these pictures, and indeed, these perceptions of Benidorm draw thousands to the area every year. However, it’s also true that, if you’re planning a holiday to Benidorm, you’re already fully aware of these attractions, and so, having spent time in and around Benidorm and spoken to local residents, we have presented below some of the best things to do in the area that are a little beyond the obvious.
If you’re planning a club and beach holiday, or a visit to the grandparents, these may make for a nice change of pace, and if you’re turned off by the popular image of the city, you may even want to forgo the clubs and main beaches entirely and base your holiday around gems such as these.
Just because you fancy a change of scene from Benidorm doesn’t mean you don’t want to spend some time simply decompressing on the hot sand of a Spanish beach. For a beautiful beach within easy travelling distance of Benidorm, take a trip to Finestrat. While it’s not empty, the beach is certainly quieter than those of Benidorm itself, and the town’s sloping streets and rocky foundations make for a nice walk, although one best suited to people living without disabilities. It’s less than a ten mile drive from Benidorm, making it perfect for a day (or even a morning or an afternoon) trip, and it has plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants where you could enjoy a meal or a cool drink and watch the world go by.
The south of Spain is famous for its citrus fruit: the searing heat and parched earth make excellent conditions for growing lemons and oranges. Loquat trees also thrive in the region, and La Nucia is surrounded by loquat groves.
For those unfamiliar with the loquat (or nispero, in Spanish), it is a small, bright orange fruit with a deliciously tart flavour and a soft, silky texture to its flesh. Take a walk around La Nucia and see the legions of loquat trees, and if you’re visiting in loquat season (late spring to early summer), be sure to taste some of the fruit while you’re there; you won’t get fresher or riper loquat than in La Nucia during the picking season, succulent and warm from the Mediterranean sun.
Polop de la Marina
For a slightly unusual feature, visit Polop de la Marina. The most famous part of this town is its fountain – comprising 221 taps arranged around the town square, the water is drinkable and free to drink or collect.
While functional drinking fountains are, of course, far from unusual, and those with special water rumoured to provide health benefits are also not unheard of, it’s rare for a fountain to be prized because of the sheer tastiness of its water. In fact, one nearby resident we spoke to told us how her grandfather loved the flavour of the water so much that he used to take the whole family to Polop and fill as many gallon jugs as they could carry, before driving back home with them in the boot of his car. The walls of the fountain are also decorated with nearby towns’ coats of arms and a quotation describing the quality of the water.
How to get to Benidorm
If you don’t want to spend days in a bus or car, taking a plane is the best option to get from the UK to Benidorm.
Direct flights from London to nearby Alicante, offered by airlines including easyJet, RyanAir, Monarch, British Airways and Iberia, take around 2 hours and 30 minutes. From Alicante Airport it’s only a 40 minute ride over the A-70 and AP-7 to get to Benidorm, which you can take by rental car or one of our shared or private airport transfers. Alicante Airport doesn’t have good public transport links to the beach resort, but our transfers from Alicante airport to Benidorm are good value for money options.
Where to stay
Hotel Internacional – Set in the very heart of Benidorm, it’s hard to beat Hotel Internacional for low cost, pleasant, no fuss accommodation. In only a couple of minutes you could be at the beach, or in one of the many nearby bars or shops. A perfect hotel to cover all the basics, with an excellent location to boot.
Hotel Fetiche Alojamiento con Encanto – Located in Benidorm’s old town, the 2 star Hotel Fetiche Alojamiento con Encanto is slick, modern and beautiful. Emphasising top notch service without gimmicks, reception is happy to book tickets, organise car hire or store your luggage, while the rooms are clean and comfortable.
Villa Venecia Boutique Hotel – Adjacent to Levante beach is the spectacular Villa Venecia. This boutique hotel delivers all the comfort and service of a five star resort, but does away with the gaudiness, providing a compact, efficient and above all luxurious customer experience. As well as beautiful rooms, the hotel has a roof terrace with a hot tub, and also features a well-regarded restaurant serving local produce.